Ink-vestigating college printing policies: Why allowances were raised $10 this year for full-time students

Rebecca Jordan

Staff Writer

Less than two percent of students met or exceeded their printing allowances last year. If students go over the budgeted amount, they have the option to add their own funds. Any money students add will carry over into future semesters as long as they are still enrolled at Hudson Valley, but this money is nonrefundable once students leave the college.

Charles Youngman, financial accounting student, disagreed with the lack of refunds. “If you put a thousand dollars on [your account], there’s nothing you can do. That’s just dumb,” he said.

In August 2012, Hudson Valley employed a new printing policy, one that would require students to pay for previously free and unlimited printing on campus. “I don’t mind much, considering it’s not too much per page,” said Abby Skarbowski, individual studies student.

According to Dennis Kennedy, director of communications and marketing, the college realized that they were one of the few colleges that offered unlimited printing to students. “We also realized students were doing less and less printing as there were more digital communications, and we moved to a balance, or allowance, for student printing to avoid any waste,” he said.

Full-time students were originally given a $20 printing allowance when the policy was put into effect, equivalent to 250 single-sided, black-and-white printed pages, while part-time students were allowed $10. This year, the allowance increased to $30 per semester for each full-time student, or 375 printed sheets, and $15 for each part-time student. The allowance is renewed at the start of each semester.

“Obviously I understand that ink is expensive, but tuition is a lot of money, and I feel like we should get printing for free,” said Alexander Ost, individual studies student.

The new printing system allowed the college to expand its printing services. Students can now print wirelessly from their devices using the college’s ePrint option and have the ability to send documents to a print station from anywhere. They can release the job once they arrive on campus, and can also print in color if they choose, which is a new feature as well.

Brenda Hazard, director of the Marvin Library, is in favor of the college’s decision to place a fee on student printing. “It’s a green policy: it helps in terms of eliminating waste, it makes financial sense for the college, and it’s a reality for all library users that they have to think, ‘Do I really want this item that I’m printing?’,” she said.

Hazard also commented that sometimes students would print a document and then never pick it up at the printer. In turn, this caused the library to generate about eight full tubs of paper recycling per day. Today, after the policy’s implementation, the library produces less than one full bin per day.

“It makes us look like we’re good stewards of the money that the county gives us, that the state gives us, and that we get from tuition,” Hazard remarked. “I just think it makes a lot of sense in terms of how we’re using our resources.”

According to Kennedy, “My understanding is that we just don’t necessarily have a process right now that would allow us to give printing refunds. We have been clear about the fact that we’re not able to do that.”

 

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